20710575 - Aesthetics of Music: Music and Emotions

The course ‘Aesthetics of Music’ is part of the program in Philosophy (BA level) and is included among the optional training activities. Aim of the course is to provide students with an overview of the contemporary debate on the relation between music and emotions from both a theoretical and an aesthetical perspective. The course will investigate music’s ability to express emotions as well as music’s capacity to arouse emotional reactions in the listener.
Upon completion of the course, students are expected to acquire the following skills:
- capacity to read and analyse philosophical sources in the aesthetics of music;
- advanced critical thinking in relation to the relevant debate;
- advanced language and argumentation skills with regard to the topics discussed in class.


teacher profile | teaching materials

Mutuazione: 20710575 Estetica musicale: Musica e Emozioni in DAMS (Discipline delle Arti, della Musica e dello Spettacolo) L-3 GIOMBINI LISA


Title: Musical Expressiveness
Throughout the course, the following issues will be examined:
How can music be expressive of emotion?
How can we explain our emotional response to music?
What kinds of emotions are those generated by listening to music?
How can we justify the attribution of expressive qualities to music?
What do we mean when we say, for example, that music is sad, joyful, melancholic?
Are expressive descriptions of music literal or metaphorical?

Core Documentation

Hanslick, E., Il bello musicale, Aesthetica, Palermo 2007.
Langer, S., Filosofia in una nuova chiave, Ramando editore, Roma, 1972 (cap. 8: Sul significato in musica).
Lentini, D., La musica e le emozioni. Percorsi nell’estetica analitica, Mimesis, Milano, 2014.
Kivy, P., Filosofia della musica. Un’introduzione, Einaudi, Torino, 2007.

Type of delivery of the course

The course is taught by: Lectures Interactive discussions with students; Seminars with invited scholars.


Attendance is not compulsory but it is highly recommended.

Type of evaluation

An oral test is scheduled at the end of the course.